Forced by the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Glendale’s City Council approved a sweeping plan this week to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
The plan sets ambitious goals in citywide recycling efforts. It also calls for increased efficiency at city facilities to cut down on local emissions of greenhouse gases.
The 115-page Greener Glendale Plan focuses on municipal operations, which account for about 3% of Glendale’s total greenhouse gas emissions. But a second plan aimed at the community as a whole is in the pipeline.
“I think it’s really important that we have a plan to address sustainability, first because it’s the right thing to do, but secondly because we’re mandated to,” said Mayor Laura Friedman. “If we don’t have a real reduction across the board of all of our resources, we get hit with very heavy fines.”
The city tapped a $160,000-grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the plan, which should put Glendale on track to meet 93% of its 2020 goal using millions of dollars already budgeted for sustainability programs throughout different departments.
Officials will have to find funds for the other initiatives in the future, said Planning Assistant Cassandra Pruett.
Emissions come from city buildings, public lighting, employee commutes, landfill use, water transport and other sectors of city operations. The city plans to reduce greenhouse gases by 8% in 2020 and 13% in 2035 by increasing the Community Services & Parks water efficiency, improving heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology in city buildings and retiring older city vehicles.
Officials also plan to plant thousands of trees and use more renewable energy, according to a city report.
If the city continued to operate as usual, it would produce more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by the 2020 deadline, but the reduction benchmarks bring that down to just above 30,000, according to the report.
Although Glendale implemented several energy- and water-saving measures between 2004 and 2009, a new police building and an increase in its vehicle fleet by almost 30% have led to a slight uptick in energy use and air pollution since 2004, according to the city report.
Part of the plan also sets a goal for a zero-waste program, which includes a 90% recycling rate by 2030. The city currently recycles about 61% of its waste, according to a city report.
The zero-waste goal could be met through a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags, placing mandates on commercial recycling and other initiatives, according to the city.
A state mandate forces the city to have a 75% recycling rate by 2020, said Public Works Director Steve Zurn.